Bit by bit, I’ve been tackling my list of places to visit (and stumbling upon other places, like Aerobreeze, through the Showcase tab). Last night, I finally visited Pteron. What a marvel it is.
I learned of Pteron after coming across this weblog entry in a reader: Nika Dreamscape’s list of best places. This monochromatic build dazzles with a wide range of surprises. So much so, I took a gazillion pictures and am having a difficult time culling from the set.
This is yet another build that somehow looks sparse, despite being incredibly complex. And it is yet another build where you are quietly drawn in. You have to be a fierceless clicker to find the modes of transport through the build, to realize the build extends into space and into the ocean, to find hidden gifts offered to the “dazzling humans” by the futuristic race that created the experience and left it open for discovery.
Pteron is wonderful on so many levels. If you have just a little time, you’re immediately struck by its sterile beauty, even without taking the time to discover the subtle ways to move about and interact with the many different rooms and levels and objects. If you have more time, you can easily spend hours in Pteron and still feel like you’ll want to return to it again.
Even after hours last night and a gazillion pictures (I’m stopping myself from posting them all here), I’m certain I’ll return to Pteron. Aside from all the wonderful marvels, it’s kind of fun to find yourself in a futuristic interpretation of Escher’s “Relativity.”
One of the things I love about SL is the art and the immense creativity inworld. So many times, I hadn’t the opportunity to see art installations that were on display for a limited period of time. Gazira Babeli’s “Hammering the Void” is the most recent build that I missed, and I truly regret missing it. Because in searching for Babeli’s works, I found a taxi that led me to an archive of her 2007 creation [Collateral Damage]…a build that countless ppl have already heard of and seen but one that I had not. This exhibit is so surprising that it’s hard to imagine it as “old news”…even to those who have already seen it. Because the timelessness of the work is found in the wonderful creativity and talent of the artist.
The taxi brings you to this sign, where the “Enter at Your Own Risk” warning just compels you to climb the stairs. Once you arrive at the top of the stairs, you’ll find not so much “risk” but moreso a great deal of interactivity…some in plain sight, some hidden, and all of it surprising, delightful, humorous, jarring, captivating.
These are just a few pictures from the experience. If, like me, you haven’t yet seen this 2007 creation, I won’t spoil it by sharing details of the effects. Suffice to say, it is so well worth a visit (as the many thousands of people who visited the build in 2007 can confirm). It is simply engaging and amazing and I have no doubt that, like me, you will be incredibly grateful that Babeli’s two-year-old creation is still inworld for all of us to enjoy…for the first time or the 1,000th time.
Last night, I checked out the Showcase tab and in the list of Hot Spot locations, randomly clicked on AeroBreeze. I am so glad I did. From what I saw, AeroBreeze is a little gem of a build, reminiscent in many ways of Chouchou’s grounds.
The seasons co-exist beautifully on the beaches in AeroBreeze. In the photo above, snow falls in a field of blooming flowers. Although the canvas for this build is very clean, anywhere you look your eye is surprised by the delicate display of the merging of the seasons.
Here I am drawing a star-filled bubblebath in a tub that stands in a spring meadow. Not too far away from the winter penisula and the spring meadow are the giant trunks of trees whose leaves have fallen.
As gentle as AeroBreeze’s presentation is of the seasons mingling, so are the various sit poses that are located very subtley throughout the build.
Last night as I explored AeroBreeze, there were maybe three others doing the same. I suspect that like me they all felt they had the sim to themselves and so concentrated on picture-taking. A woman who was dressed like a young lady and whose full name I don’t recall (although I believe her first name was Shiloh) must have seen me as I tried a very fun sit pose that causes you to twirl in the air like a snowflake. She took my picture and shared it with me. It’s a much better photo than I got of myself in this pose, which really is very pretty.
And I have to say that I love when that happens…when a build is so engaging or so fascinating that complete strangers will delight in taking and sharing pictures of each other. After I thanked Shiloh, she left, so I didn’t get a chance to return the favor. But I realize now that if you look in the very first photo, to the left of the snowtree, you’ll see Shiloh dancing (on another wonderful sit pose) in the spring meadow that flanks the snow on the beach in summer…in AeroBreeze.
Note: the coordinates in the last photo (AeroBreeze 139.215.25) might land you on a sit pose; I’m not sure where Shiloh was standing when she took that photo.
The nuances in the title “Master Class” were tailor made for Shenlei Flashheart (Shenlei Winkler in RL): entrepreneur, innovator, fashion designer, and now an author. (As a friend and as someone who curates one of Shenlei’s programs, I have to take this moment to say…well, really, to scream: OMG SHENLEI! CONGRATULATIONS!!!).
Shenlei is CEO of the RL company The Fashion Research Institute and also a masterful fashion designer who is hugely successful in both RL and SL. Within six months of rezzing in 2005, she became one of the top earners in SL by successfully launching (and growing) her Prim & Proper brand of victorian fashion (now retired). After retiring P&P, Shenlei followed up with two new successful brands: Flash & Trash casual wear (retired), and the Debutante brand of romantic gowns (very active with a dedicated and loyal following).
On top of all of this, for more than a year, Shenlei has generously guided aspiring designers inworld by sharing her knowledge and techniques. Along with helping the designers hone their craft, Shenlei has also helped them to launch their brands inworld, first by providing mentoring and shop space for several months (gratis) in her Shengri La sims and then by creating immersive fashion installations (each hugely attended) to showcase the young designers’ work.
Shenlei’s help is highly structured help. It comes in the form of well thought-out programs like The Shengri La Vintage Marketplace (an invitation-only apprenticeship program in existence for a year; I curate this); the Avatar Apparel Design Course (an inworld course, complete with structured instruction and a fully articulated course curriculum); and, now a book. (OMG!!!)
As a writer myself, I know the thrill that comes with seeing your work published and in print. But my printed work doesn’t include a book (one day, I hope it will…although I did complete last year’s 50,000-word count NaNoWriMo and I still marvel in astonishment at my very wonderful friend who has completed NaNoWriMo every year for the past 9 years). The huge amount of effort that goes into writing a 50,000-word piece can never be overstated. Let alone the fact that in the 50,000 word book “Designing Dreams,” Shenlei continues to share techniques and step-by-step guidance to help turn vision into reality for anyone with a dream, determination, commitment, desire and a willingness to make the effort.
Truly, “Designing Dreams” is a Master class. It’s a fashion design clinic taught by the masterfully talented and classy Shenlei Flasheart. If you’re an aspiring inworld designer or if you want to learn fashion design from a prolific RL and SL designer, and a genuinely nice and generous soul, check out “Designing Dreams” at Amazon.
Like probably everyone, a couple of days ago, I heard news that Rezzable is leaving SL. Unlike probably everyone, I had not yet made my way beyond Crimson Shadow to two other popular Rezzable builds: The Carnival of Doom and the Greenies.
While I have heard of Rezzable a great deal in SL, I was never entirely clear what Rezzable was. I always thought Rezzable was made up of a variety of artists who collaborated together…and I suppose one could still think of them that way, although I’ve since learned that Rezzable is a company. I learned this from my very wonderful friend Dale and perhaps I should have realized it while at The Carnival of Doom “novelties” stand where one can buy various things (clothing, skins, avatars).
A quick aside: today’s (Thursday) Rezzable website announces a 50L sale at Crimson Shadow and The Carnival of Doom through July 15th, the last day that those builds – along with The Tunnel of Light (which I did have an opportunity to see) – will appear in SL.
Collaborative artists or creative enterprise, let me just say that The Carnival of Doom is *really* creepy. I mean in a Stephen King “It” kind of way creepy. The fairgrounds “greet” you with giant and menacing rides (perfectly reflecting the danger in the name “The Carnival of Doom”).
The creepiest of creepy Stephen King “It” clowns may (or may not) suddenly appear, one of which may (or may not) pedal a unicycle in bee-line fashion only to stop abruptly nearby and hang in the air like a really bad stench. This clown doesn’t need to say anything to be creepy.
His entire persona – down to his “Cannibal” tag – is enough to cause your hair to stand on end. When the build somehow sends in more clowns, well, you… just… kinda… feel… your… skin… crawl.
And then you remember, as the health HUD clearly reminds all visitors, one can be injured or even “die” at The Carnival of Doom.
The Greenies wasn’t nearly as creepy (except for some very huge buggy leggy nom-nomming things).
But what it shared with The Carnival of Doom was Rezzable’s imaginative marketing: themed immersive entertainment or role playing merged with shopping. I’m not sure that I would call it RP, because it’s more like stumbling into the themed reality, rather than choosing to create a persona first before engaging. (But I haven’t done RP so maybe that is how RP is done…I really don’t know.) Either way, Rezzable’s immersive aspect is powerfully effective. But, isn’t that really the case with all of SL? Aside from the novel approach of turning immersion up another notch, I’m not clear how this could give Rezzable a competitive advantage (particularly sustained over time). But, marketing in SL is a pretty fascinating and complex undertaking.
Either way, there’s undoubtably a ton of creativity in these builds. They are truly worth visiting in the next very few days before they disappear entirely from SL…even if, in hindsight, they really appear to be massively themed shopping malls. You won’t notice that initially if for a while…
What’s a Fourth of July celebration without the attention grabber of a Neko Robot, I ask you. Well, there was a spectacular one at one of the friendliest, most easy going clubs inworld.
The music was great, the conversation easy-going and good natured, and I was transfixed, stuck on the look of this incredible AV…not only on the look itself but also on how this Neko Robot danced in an organic manner, ironically enough.
Normally, I don’t ask people where they get their looks, but this time, I had to. And she (I hesitate to say her name as I neglected to ask permission to use it in this weblog entry) was kind enough to tell me. The thing is, this look is a compliation of different things from 3-4 different shops. I’m stunned by the level of creativity and her incredible eye, because to me, this looks like it came from one giant purchase, or at the very least, it looks like a couple of different pieces accessorized from the same shop.
Look at the fluidity in all of this. Isn’t this Neko Robot awesome? I wish I could create a look as wonderfully imaginative and yet so utterly cohesive as this. But until that day (and even on that day, should that day arrive), it is always such a delight to admire the wonderful range of creativity inworld…in large ways and in everyday ways, including choosing items from our closet to wear.